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Overview of Washington DC Workers’ Compensation Laws

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As an employer in the District of Columbia, it’s important to ensure your business is fully compliant with workers’ compensation laws. Failure to adhere to all employment related laws increases your risk for potential lawsuits and expensive fines. If you run a business, no matter how small, we recommend you meet with a Washington DC employment and labor law attorney who can help keep your company compliant with all federal and local laws.

The Department of Employment Services (DOES) is the agency responsible for handling workers’ compensation benefits for private-sector employees. All employers who have at least one employee who is not a business owner are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. The law allows you to file for self-insurance which must be approved by DOES.

Sole proprietorships and partnerships can cover themselves for workers’ compensation, but it not a legal requirement. If you are a homeowner with a domestic worker who averages more than 240 hours during a calendar quarter in the same or previous year is also required to have workers’ compensation coverage.

Employees who are Eligible for Benefits

Workers’ compensation benefits will cover your employees for all illnesses and injuries that happen during the course of their job duties. This can include injuries sustained while doing normal duties as well as work errands. Any injury that occurs while they are off-duty are not covered. For example, someone who is injured on their lunch break while at a restaurant or driving home from work would not be covered.

Traumatic injuries are occupational illnesses are both covered by workers’ compensation benefits. A traumatic injury would be one where your employee had a slip and fall accident whereas an occupational illness is something that develops over time. It could be a repetitive motion injury or an illness that can be linked to exposure to harmful substances or chemicals on the job site.

Federal employees are subject to different regulations in regard to workers’ compensation coverage and independent contractors in the District of Columbia have no coverage at all.

Time Limits for Benefits

Employees are required to report their injuries to you within 30 days of the injury or within 30 days of learning that the injury is related to work. Once you receive the notice, you are required to file an Employer’s First Report of Injury or Occupational Disease within 10 days.

Claim Denials

If you or your workers’ compensation carrier deny an employee’s claim, be advised the employee has the right to appeal. The appeal starts when the employee files an Application for Formal Hearing. The Administrative Hearings Division will set a hearing date in front of a workers’ compensation judge who will render their decision. If the employee disagrees with the decision, they may file another appeal with the Workers’ Compensation Board.

Retaining a Washington DC Employment Law Attorney

If you run a business and have questions on workers’ compensation or any other employment and labor law topics, contact the team at Tobin, O’Connor & Ewing at 202-362-5900 to schedule a consultation.

Resource:

does.dc.gov/page/workers-compensation-does

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